2020 Lisagor Awards nomination: Chicago Public Square for Best Continuing Blog – Independent

 2020 Chicago Headline Club Peter Lisagor Awards 

X5: Best Continuing Blog, Independent

Chicago Public Square:

Chicago’s new front page

“You are doing an amazing job reducing my stress
with your edited and accurate news briefs. Thank you.”

An unsolicited note of praise for Chicago Public Square in 2020 

Submitted for your consideration:
 Three sample posts—from Aug. 17, March 26 and March 23, 2020.

What makes Chicago Public Square a better news blog? Every major Chicago news organization has a web presence. But they’re obligated to give primary or exclusive play to their own organizations’ journalism. Square is beholden to no one news source and can point readers impartially to relevant news and commentary anywhere. Thanks in part to enthusiastic readers who’ve volunteered their monthly and yearly financial support, Square remains steadfastly free to all—no paywall, no subscriber-only content. And unlike many over-designed websites, Square keeps the focus on a reading experience that rewards people’s time and attention—no intrusive ads, no images for images’ sake.

As the pandemic dawned in 2020, Square went above and beyond to offer displaced students an online journalism class. And it continued its tradition of providing voter guides for the primary and general elections—while maintaining a vibrant between-editions presence on Facebook.

Under the editorial leadership of web news pioneer Charlie Meyerson, Square has built a loyal audience engaged at levels far beyond industry standards. Since launch in January 2017, Square readers have opened each day’s edition at a rate more than double MailChimp’s Media and Publishing Industry average and engaged with it at a click rate more than triple the industry average. And they’ve demonstrated their support financially. As of January 2021, Square’s conversion rate—the percentage of subscribers whose one-time or continuing financial pledges keep Square coming—has topped 16%.

About Chicago Public Square. Square was the winner of the last year’s Chicago Headline Club Lisagor Award for Best Continuing Independent Blog and, the year before, the Lisagor for Best Radio Newscast—defeating venerable WBBM Newsradio. At this writing, Square is a finalist to repeat as Chicago Reader readers’ pick for Best Blog; and Square’s breaking-news cartoonist, Keith J. Taylor, is in line to repeat as Reader readers’ choice for Best Visual Artist. (Square’s also a finalist for Best Email Newsletter and Taylor for Best Comics Illustrator.)

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